Standards of Professional Conduct

The review and revisions of the Standards of Professional Conduct, which began in 2014, is now complete. On March 24, 2017, the Council of the College unanimously approved the  Standards of Professional Conduct (2017) which will come into force on September 1, 2017. These are the first major changes made to the Standards since 2005.

The initial consultation with members of the profession and other stakeholders suggested that, for the most part, the content remained relevant and appropriate to contemporary psychological practice.  The need for change was identified however, in response to:

  • Heightened awareness of the need to prevent sexual abuse of patients;
  • Members' and clients' increasing use of emerging technology, including telepsychology; and,
  • Concerns by members of the public, and of the profession, regarding supervision practices.

 
The review was led by the College's Client Relations Committee with the assistance of the Supervision Task Force, specifically appointed to review the Standards related to supervision.  The review, as well as the recommended changes, were informed by the values of public interest and protection, clarity, freedom from ambiguity and ease of enforceability.

A second consultation was held in October 2016 which resulted in 230 submissions from individuals and associations.  This feedback informed the final revisions that received approval from the College Council.

While many of the Standards remained substantively unchanged, there are significant changes in the new Standards related to:

  • Supervision of Non-Members;
  • Prevention of Sexual Abuse and Harassment; and
  • Use of Technology in the Provision of Psychological Services


Among other changes are clarity with respect to the ability for members to accept fees in advance, in specified circumstances, which are to be maintained as segregated funds until service delivery is complete, and removal of the specific prohibition against fee splitting. As well, Supplementary Notes to the Standards have been replaced by Practical Applications, which will be available on-line, within the body of the Standards document. This will allow up to date advice and examples of the application of the Standards to everyday practice whenever the need for clarification of an item becomes apparent.

Members are encouraged to review the Standards of Professional Conduct (2017) as soon as possible to ensure they are aware of any changes that will impact on their practices. Although these do not come into force until September 1, 2017, members are encouraged to adopt the changes as soon as it is possible for them to do so.

The Standards of Professional Conduct (2017) represent a great deal of thoughtful work by many Committee and Task Force members over the past several years. They also reflect the careful consideration and helpful suggestions by the many members who participated in the consultations.

As always, members are encouraged to contact the College with any questions they may have about applying the Standards of Professional Conduct (2017) to their practice. To facilitate timely communication, members with specific questions about the application of the Standards are asked to email their questions to standards@cpo.on.ca . We will endeavour to answer questions as quickly as possible.  In addition, Frequently Asked Questions  regarding the new Standards will be regularly updated and posted in the member section of the College website.